M. Scott Peck begins his bestseller The Road Less Traveled with three simple, indisputable words: “Life is difficult.” There is hardly anyone who would argue with that. Those words by Peck were made even more real to me when I recently received a call from a friend who, after 22 years of service on her job, was released. I advised her that her faith should not fail and that her willingness to worship should continue, even in these tough times.
Even those who are financially successful find these times very challenging. There are those who have, as their mission, assistance to the marginalized and even they have seen their own portfolios diminish in value. It’s not uncommon to hear words like downsizing, re-evaluation, re-engineering, re-structuring, lay-offs, terminations and eliminations used at least once a day. For businesses, breaking even is seen as profitable and slight decreases are determined normal.
Yes, the current human pilgrimage is pressure-packed. There is pressure to make it, pressure to succeed, pressure to pay bills on time. Universally, it seems like there are limited resources and unlimited challenges.
Schools are under pressure to teach and train with less financial support. Emergency responders are under pressure to rescue and serve with fewer personnel. There are more tasks than time, more work than it’s worth and more cents than dollars.
God’s servant David found himself living under great pressure. The pressure he faced caused him to become disoriented, degraded, deserted, depressed and temporarily defeated. But he fought the pressure when he verbalized his problems to the Lord and then recognized God’s presence in his life. He realized his provisions from God for the long haul, organized his priorities and then, lastly, he energized his Praise. If David can praise God under pressure, so can you.
Praise actually means saying something positive about God and thinking something positive about His work in your life and doing something as a physical signal that God is in control. Singing, dancing, testifying, sharing, loving, smiling, embracing and being kind are ways to praise the Lord. Praise means reflecting on the product and not focusing necessarily on the process, because you know God will always come out on top. And when God wins, so do you.
But praise has to be practiced. Praise must become habitual. Just as the Jews say “Shalom Aleichem,” and the Muslims say “Assalam-o-alaikum” (“peace be with you”), the Christian response to be practiced is “Hallelujah,” which literally means “Praise the Lord.”
If the doctor can practice medicine and the attorney can practice law, then the saints of God, the servants of God ought to practice praise. Praise is what we do: “Hallelujah anyhow!” In spite of all
the challenges, changes, charges, pressures, perplexities and problems, we have to praise Him for His power, His provisions and His peace.
Proactively and persistently practice praising the Lord and the power of the Prince of Peace will protect you, preserve you and perfect you.
Dr. Walter T. Richardson is Pastor Emeritus of the Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church located in South Miami-Dade. He is also the current Chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board. He may be contacted at wtrichardson@Bellsouth.net Website: WTRMinistries.com
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